June 18, 2013

Earning our accolades

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It was a dark and stormy night June 13, and the hometown Barons, with a comfortable lead in their division, were battling the Jackson Generals. Lightning flashed, but it did not frighten us away. Rain poured down in sheets, but it did not dampen our enthusiasm. Unfortunately, the storm did seem to charge the opponents’ bats, as the Barons went down in a 7-2 loss. The team would go on to split a four-game home stand against the Generals, but the real winners were Birmingham and UAB.

Regions Field at NightThat night the Department of Medicine welcomed its new interns, 42 bright physicians in Internal Medicine and Medicine-Pediatrics, eager to begin their careers but feeling a few twinges of apprehension. I remember having those feelings myself. Many of the interns have moved here from as far away as New York, N.Y.; East Lansing, Mich., and Birmingham, U.K. Dr. Seth Landefeld, chair of the Department of Medicine, and Dr. Lisa Willett, director of the Tinsley Harrison Internal Medicine Residency Program, wisely chose a night at Region’s Field, Birmingham’s latest gem, to introduce them to our city.

By the first of July, more than 250 new interns and fellows will call UAB and Birmingham home. Our medical school, perhaps more than most, is inextricably linked to our city. UAB’s enterprise is vital to the economic health and vitality of the city and the state; our presence in downtown is unmistakable, especially on a night at the ballpark with several green UAB logos adorning buildings over the outfield wall.

Birmingham is also vital to UAB. Just ask anyone who has moved here recently. When I was considering moving to UAB eight years ago, I knew about UAB. It would be difficult to find someone in academic medicine who is not aware of our excellent research, education and patient care. But I did not know much about Birmingham. That’s starting to change.

Thanks to strong collaborations and hard work – by UAB, the city, the Birmingham Business Alliance, the Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau, our fellow universities and many other entities – progressive developments are being noticed across the country with articles in the New York Times, in Delta Sky magazine and on the Today Show. The Alabama Symphony Orchestra (whose home is in the UAB Alys Stephens Center) played Carnegie Hall last spring. The new faculty, students, residents, fellows and staff that we recruit are increasingly familiar with Railroad Park, our fabulous restaurants, a burgeoning music scene and an overall sense of civic health in Birmingham.

I encourage you to read more about Birmingham’s accolades on our news page here.

Our interns will spend several years of their lives here, creating their careers, building families and friendships. Many of them will decide to stay permanently. They will also contribute to the economy and Birmingham’s multi-cultural fabric. So please join me in welcoming these new professionals, and I hope to see you soon out at a ballgame or any of the other places around town that make Birmingham a great place to work and live.

RR park night